Movie, Reviews

“Inferno” a Slow Paced Thriller



Slow moving yet thrilling the movie Inferno, third in a series of movies based on books by David Keopp, comes to the screen in hopes of at least matching the $217 million of The Da Vinci Code that released in 2006. While the film does have non-stop action like the first, it loses its luster as a true mystery.

Better than the second outing called Angels and Daemons however, this installment keeps the audience off balance throughout. It would behoove newcomers to watch previous episodes now on video prior to going to see Inferno to catch up and realize importance of the main characters.

Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Sienna (Felicity Jones) discover Dante's Death Mask in the Baptistry in Columbia Pictures' INFERNO.
Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Sienna (Felicity Jones) discover Dante’s Death Mask in the Baptistry in Columbia Pictures’ INFERNO.

The world has outgrown itself and over population has become the worst enemy of humanity. Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) a transhumanist scientist believes that there’s only one way to save the Earth and its populace, thin it out. Not only thin, but cut the population of the world in half. Determined to prove he’s right he has directed Harry Sims (Irrfan Kahn) to carry out Zobrist’s mission that involves a plague.

In the meantime Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a professor of symbology, finds himself waking up in a hospital in Italy with amnesia. Trying to understand why he’s there, Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) works at his bedside to bring light into how he received his head injury. Just when they get a clue, an Italian policewoman shows up trying to kill Langdon.

Zobrist (Ben Foster) presents his over population theory in Columbia Pictures' INFERNO.
Zobrist (Ben Foster) presents his over population theory in Columbia Pictures’ INFERNO.

Now on the run Langdon tries to contact Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen) head of the World Health Organization for help. Ron Howard who directed all of the films in the series so far, takes the helm of the series once again with a very tough road to travel. Not really introducing Robert Langdon about being a symbologist who is able to follow clues, does tend to cause confusion in several scenes until the viewer gets the drift. I guess Howard expects his audience to have seen the other two films or have read the books. To clear that up, Langdon has been solving mysteries that have threatened extinction by reading into clues found in various paintings and other art. Even as popular as Hanks has been in the role, a little catch up would not have hurt the film and enlightened those who are new to the series.

Irrfan Khan (HARRY SIMS) and Tom Hanks (ROBERT LANGDON) in Columbia Pictures' INFERNO.
Irrfan Khan (HARRY SIMS) and Tom Hanks (ROBERT LANGDON) in Columbia Pictures’ INFERNO.

Speaking of Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon I am fairly disappointed in his performance and the script he had to follow. Disjointed and choppy the film flails from one side to the next until the third act when his character finally has control of the film. Maybe carrying the role has been a labor of expected fulfillment, but you can certainly see his heart is not into it. In fact you would have to go back as far as Captain Phillips for a performance that shows his great talent.

Bouchard (Omar Sy) convinces Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Sienna (Felicity Jones) to trust him in Columbia Pictures' INFERNO.
Bouchard (Omar Sy) convinces Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Sienna (Felicity Jones) to trust him in Columbia Pictures’ INFERNO.

Upstaging his acting, Felicity Jones gives her character Sienna Brooks a lot of energy and screen presence. She’s the needed chemistry that creates the excitement and saves the production. Much like a good character in a James Bond film, she’s Langdon’s protector who comes to his aid to help uncover what his memory has forgot and get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding there flight from danger. The movie The Theory of Everything brought her to the forefront with a nomination for a Globe and an Oscar and here she proves she can do action films as well.

Directing the trilogy seems to have been an unwavering project for Ron Howard. His Angels and Daemons dropped $100 million less that his first go of The Da Vinci Code. Bringing the third book to the screen at a cost of $75 million plus promotion must be a big gamble for him and we won’t know it has been a good financial endeavor until the weekend. While there’s very little competition on the big screen this weekend except the presidential elections second week of early voting and only Jack Reacher: Never Go Back for a second try, the film should open in the USA at over $30 Million. The question is however, will it have the staying power for future weeks with Doctor Strange, Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge opening on November 4th?

Inferno has been rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Not the best of the three in the series of Mysteries. (C-)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Kahn, Omar Sy, Ben Foster, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Directed by: Ron Howard
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality
Running Time: 2 hrs. 1 minute
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Released in: 2D, IMAX

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at